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Mini Tummy Tuck Vs Full Tummy Tuck?

Should I have a mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)? What are the differences on recovery time and surgery success? I've had 3 kids (4, 3, and 1) and I'm only 23. No allergy to any meds; No surgeries

Doctor Answers (19)

Mini vs. Full vs. Modified Tummy Tucks


You have several options availabe for improvement of your abdomen. The most appropriate choice will depend on what your desires are and how loose your skin is, which is best determined by a full consultation with examination.

I see that you have some loose skin awith strecth marks that go all the way to your belly button. There is loss of definition in your waist. You belly button looks good with little flattening and overhanging skin. You are 23; any more children in the future? Is that a c-section scar?

When counseling patients such as yourself the first question I ask is: "are you happy with your belly button"? If you are then a mini-tt is a good option since it will help tighten your lower abdomed with a shorter, lower scar. I almost always tighten the lower muscles to provide additional flattening. Adding liposcultpure to the sides can help define your waist. The recovery is less than a full Tummy Tuck. This technique is however limited. This procedure will not remove all of your stretch marks. It will not correct your upper abdomen or belly button.

If you have a significant muscle separation and bulging of the upper abdomen and you want to correct this, then a modified full Tummy Tuck might be an option. The scar will be longer and higher, and you will have a scar around your bully button that may not make it look much better than what you have now. I would offer this to you only after a few consultations where we would discuss the limitations in great detail.

My experience shows that the right patients are satisfied with their mini-Tummy Tuck. I select my patients carefully since the majority of my patients need a full Tummy Tuck. I usually don't offer a mini-tt to a patient who reuqires a full Tummy Tuck because I know they will be dissatisifed with the limited correction.

Make no mistake, correcting your abdomen is challenging. You are not the typical tummy tuck patient. I would urge you to find a board certified plastic surgeon who has alot of experience with patients similar to yourself. Ask how many mini-Tummy Tuck, full- Tummy Tuck, and modified Tummy Tuck they perform. What are there results like. Are the patients happy? Look at their before and after pictures. Ask a lot of questions.

Hope this helps.

Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Mini Abdominoplasty vs. Full Abdominoplasty


First of all, you want to be completely clear on what the differences are between these procedures.  With a full abdominoplasty, there will be a scar that extends across the lower abdomen, typically extending from hip to hip.  There is also a scar around the belly button.  With the mini abdominoplasty, the lower abdominal scar is shorter, and there is no scar at the belly button.  Liposuction is often used with either of the procedures.  Less scarring always sounds like a good idea, but lesser procedures produce lesser results, and you may not get the outcome that you are looking for.  The mini tuck does not tighten the upper abdomen at all.  From your photo, your upper abdomen does not appear too loose, although a full exam is really needed to evaluate this.  Photos can be deceiving!  You also may have muscle separation that extends to the upper abdomen, and this could be repaired more readily with a full tummy tuck.  Again, an examination of your abdomen by an experienced, board-certified Plastic Surgeon followed by a thorough discussion about your options should allow you to make a choice that will realize your goals.

Robert Wilke, MD
Edina Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Difficult to say without an exam...


Hi there-

While your photo is helpful, in order to give you the best advice, I would also want to know how stretchy and loose your tissues are on exam- this is determined by feeling the tissues and so is not possible online...

Here are a few points to consider...

Mini-tummy tuck is an operation I no longer offer, as the rate of dissatisfaction was unacceptably high for me- I want all of my patients to be as happy as possible, and the problem with this procedure is that, because the muscles are only tightened below the belly button, too often a small bulge would develop above the belly button, where the muscles had not been tightened... leading to dissatisfaction.

I think that for patients who don't need a full tummy tuck because they don't have that degree of excess skin present, another excellent option is a MODIFIED abdominoplasty, sometimes also called a "marriage" abdominoplasty because of the way it combines ("marries") the best of an abdominoplasty and liposuction.

I would find a surgeon Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery and review your goals with him/her. After an exam, they'll be able to educate you about your options and make you comfortable and confident you are choosing the technique most likely to make you happy in the long term.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

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Looks like you would be a good candidate for a mini-tummy tuck because you don't have a lot of loose skin.


With a mini-tummy tuck, the incision can be placed very low so that it is completely covered by your bikini.  It is difficult to do repair of the abdominal muscles with a mini-tummy tuck but I'm not sure you would need it until your examination.

Leila Kasrai, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Mini vs. Full Tummy Tuck


Thank you for your question and photograph.  Without a formal exam it is impossible to say with 100% certainty, but it looks like you would benefit from a full abdominoplasty.  You have some obvious skin excess and  stretch marks up to the belly button.  A full abdominoplasty will remove all of the excess skin in the lower abdomen, bring the belly button out through the advanced upper abdominal skin, and tighten the muscles to help flatten the abdomen and narrow the waist.  

A mini-tummy tuck typically does not involve manipulation of the belly button.  As a result the amount of skin to be excised is limited.  This does shorten the scar, however.  A mini-tummy tuck can allow for tightening of the  lower abdomen, but this can result in a bulge in the upper abdomen.  This operation can be successful in the appropriate patient, but it has been my experience that most women who have had several children will benefit from a full abdominoplasty.  

Matthew H. Steele, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

​Mini Vs Full Tummy Tuck depends on the patient's needs


For the right patient it's the right procedure. Some patients will need more and some less, this is based on examination of the laxity if the skin and muscles . If there is excess skin above the belly button that is an indication of a full Tummy Tuck. A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon will suggest which of the two would be best for you.

Z. Paul Lorenc, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck will Tighten Stomach Muscles


Based on your photos you might be served best with a Tummy Tuck. This procedure will not only address the loose skin and stretch marks, but it would also tighten the stomach muscles. However, only a full examination can determine if the Mini Tummy Tuck or Full Tummy Tuck is right for you.

The video below gives you some instructions for a self examination of your stomach muscles. If the muscles are separated, you definitely would need a Tummy Tuck.

Ricardo L Rodriguez MD

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Mini tummt tuck/ full tummy tuck


 Mini tummy tuck is not as extensive operation as a full tummy tuck. In mini tummy tucks there is less dissection and separation of skin flap from the abdominal muscles and seldom muscle repairs are necessary. Belly botton is not released from the abdominal skin and incisions are shorter and does not extend hip to hips. Recovery time is shorter 3-4 weeks for mini in contrast to 4-6 weeks for full abdominoplasties. In a young lady who has high belly botton like yours a combination of liposuction/liposelection with mini tummy tuck would improve your abdominal contour.

Fereydoon S. Mahjouri, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Your Picture Suggests You May Benefit From a Full Abdominoplasty


Pregnancy can result in dramatic changes in a women’s body. These changes are especially noticeable in the abdomen, where redundant saggy skin, weakened muscles, and stretch marks may occur. Your pictures suggest that you might benefit from a full abdominoplasty, but without a physical examination by an experienced plastic surgeon, there is no way to know for sure.

If your excess skin is located below the level of the umbilicus and your muscle weakness is also at this level, you might be a candidate for a mini abdominoplasty. Unfortunately, the location of your abdominal bulge, suggests that you might benefit from a full abdominoplasty.

Abdominoplasty is performed by making a lower abdominal skin incision and then lifting the skin and subcutaneous tissue to the level of the rib cage. This typically requires detaching the belly button, which allows more skin to be removed. The muscles are then tightened, excess skin removed, and the belly button re-attached in proper position.

Mini abdominoplasty typically does not detach the belly button and confines dissection to the areas below the umbilicus. Muscles below the umbilicus are often tightened and excess skin below the umbilicus is removed. Occasionally, liposuction of the upper abdomen is performed to further augment the result.

The best results are obtained when correct analysis is performed and the best surgical option is applied. In most cases, patients will require a full abdominoplasty. Rarely, mini abdominoplasty will adequately correct the problem. Recoveries and results are excellent with both procedures.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck Vs Full Tummy Tuck Indications


The answer varies depending on the extent of the tummy tuck From the single photo it is hard to tell (side view and sitting pose more helpful) without an exam. Below is a list of the various tummy tuck procedures and who they are best suited for:
There are variations of the standard operation, including “mini-tucks”, which may be of benefit to patients who require only tightening of the abdominal muscles or removal of a small amount of skin with a scar at the pubic hairline. On the other extreme, patients with massive weight loss may require a more extensive operation and therefore more resultant scarring.
Usually, under general anesthesia, an incision is made across the lower part of the abdomen at the level of the pubic hair line.  A circular incision is made around the belly button which stays attached to the muscle. The skin with underlying fat is then separated from the muscle up toward the ribs, so that it can be pulled down like a window shade. The tummy is then “tightened”, (narrowing and flattening the abdomen) by stitching the muscles together.  Additional procedures that may enhance the result are Liposuction, Liposculpture, Breast Procedures, or Thigh Lift.
‘Mini” tummy tucks can benefit patients who have a small amount of excess skin and fat or protruding of the lower abdomen. This operation may be done under local anesthesia with sedation, on an outpatient basis. Liposuction may be used alone or in conjunction with a tummy tuck to benefit selected patients.
Mini-abdominoplasty tightens the lower abdominal wall and skin below the umbilicus, belly button, only (shortest scar).
Modified abdominoplasty addresses conditions where just the muscle wall or just the abdominal skin requires repair.
Standard abdominoplasty tightens all of the abdominal wall skin and muscles above and below the belly button. The scar can be altered or lowered to be hidden by most panty lines and bathing suits.  (Standard scar).
Extended abdominoplasty tightens the abdomen and the flanks or sides (longest scar extending around the flanks onto lower back.)

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.